Oct 26, 2012

Egg-Eating Chickens- How to Break the Habit

Egg eating is a difficult to break chickens of, but some easily-implemented strategies may work.
It may come as a surprise to learn that chickens will eat eggs out of the nest boxes, but who can blame them? They’re fresh, tasty and nutritious. However, egg-eating is a habit that should be discouraged as soon as possible after discovery. Not only does it reduce the number of eggs available for collection, it is also a habit that is quickly learned by other flock members.

Many sources recommend culling (aka: physically removing or killing) an egg eating chicken from the flock, but I do not believe that culling an egg-eater is necessary. While it is a difficult habit to break, is not impossible to overcome with some easily implemented strategies.
Theories of why chickens eat eggs  
  • Innocent exploration of a broken egg in the nest box. Reasons for broken eggs in nest boxes range from the presence of too few nest boxes, more than one hen jockeying for position in a nest box, bored chickens and broody hens intimidating laying hens and monopolizing the nests.
  •  Improper diet (wrong feed or too many treats/scraps, not offering oyster shell in a separate hopper, etc.) can result in a lack of protein, Vitamin D or calcium deficiency, leading chickens to seek out alternate sources of nutrition.
  • Stress from being disturbed or startled in the nest box can cause breakage, creating a curiosity and the opportunity for the habit to begin.
  • Exposed or brightly lit nest boxes may lead to nervousness and picking at eggs. Hens prefer dark, private locations for egg-laying.

  •  Thirsty hens may eat eggs for the liquid. (I think this theory is a stretch, but...it's possible.)
In order to break chickens of the habit of egg-eating, it helps to identify the culprit(s).
Identifying the culprit
  • The coop should be check for possible security. Predators such as rats, weasels and snakes are known egg thieves; even the smallest of holes in hardware cloth can allow an egg-eater access to the goods. If no egg thieves are identified, missing eggs are likely due to a flock member.
  •  Take note of activity around the nest boxes during peak egg-laying times; egg-eaters can be found loitering around them, looking for their next snack.

  • Egg-eating is messy business; egg-eaters can usually be found with egg yolk on their beaks, faces or feathers.
Egg-eating chickens often have yolk on their beaks or feathers.
Egg yolk on feathers is a tip-off.
A beak-shaped hole in an egg is a good indicator that chickens are eating the eggs from the nest boxes.
Tell-tale, beak-shaped hole in egg is a clue that chickens are eating eggs from the nest boxes.
Egg yolk on a chicken's beak can indicate an egg eater.
Egg yolk on beak is a dead giveaway.
Egg residue in the nest box is easier to clean with nest pads and liners in use.
Evidence that there is an egg eater is obvious when inspecting the nest boxes as there will be egg residue at the bottom. I use Kuhl nest box pads and nest liners for several reasons, one of which is for ease of cleaning the nest boxes and identifying egg-eating chickens.
Another way to ferret out egg-eating chickens is to watch what they do when given access to the day's egg collection.
 Prevention and Rehabilitation
  •  Collect eggs frequently. If eggs aren’t in the nest box, they can’t be eaten.
  • Provide at least one, 12”x 12” nest box for every four hens.
  • Break broody hens that are not sitting on hatching eggs to free-up nest box space.
Broken eggs can occur when chickens compete for nest boxes. Broken eggs can then lead to a tasting and then an egg-eating epidemic in the flock.

  •  Move broody hens sitting on hatching eggs to a separate location, away from laying hens to free up nest box space and avoid developing embryos becoming someone’s lunch.
  • Ensure adequate nest box material, which will reduce the likelihood of eggs cracking on the hard floor. Straw or plastic nest box pads are much better choices than pine shavings or hay. Employ roll-out nests, which roll eggs out of the nest when laid, removing any temptation or opportunity.
  • Provide layer feed for laying hens and limit treats in order to avoid nutritional deficiencies.
  • Supply oyster shell or finely crushed eggshells in a separate dish to strengthen eggshells of all layers, to meet the calcium needs of the egg-eater in particular and reduce the probability of weak-shelled eggs breaking accidentally.
  •  Allow hens to work, undisturbed in the morning, keeping busy children and other noises away from the hen house to minimize stress and nervous picking.
Nest box curtains in the coop keep eggs out of sight and hopefully, out of mind.

  • Hang nest box curtains for laying privacy to increase privacy, reduce stress and hide eggs from snack-seekers.
  • Place decoy eggs in nest boxes on the theory that pecking at an unyielding ‘egg’ will deter such conduct in the future. Decoy eggs can be golf balls, wooden eggs, marble eggs, plastic eggs, etc.
  •  Fill blown eggs with mustard and seal with a dab of paraffin. The hope is that the unpleasant flavor of the unexpected contents will deter future egg-eating.
  • Install roll-out nest boxes, which allow the egg to roll down an incline, away from the hen, as soon as it is laid.
  •  Ensure adequate space in the coop and run for chickens that do not free-rage. Minimum recommendations are 4 square feet per bird inside the coop and 10 square feet per bird in the run. Provide confined flocks with activities such as healthy treats for pecking (eg: Flock Block substitute)
My personal last resort is to segregate the egg-eater daily until the rest of the flock has finished laying eggs for the day. Worst case scenario, they eat their own eggs, but not anyone else's.

Egg-eating need not be cause for culling a chicken from a backyard flock. With some minor coop revisions and changes in routine, even the most avid egg connoisseur can be rehabilitated.
Eggs in nest boxes should be collected frequently to eliminate the opportunity for chickens to eat eggs.
Disclaimer, The-Chicken-Chick.com
Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick®

91 comments :

  1. Nancy Roberts10/27/12, 12:00 AM

    Wow, who knew that the chicken could be a cannibal?!! Thanks for the great information, I don't have chickens, but thought it was really interesting! Have a great weekend! :)

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  2. All good tips -- great information for all of us chicken lovers! :)

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  3. Newest follower here! I found you through the Friday link up!
    Cute blog, I can’t wait to read more! I love all of the eggs! 


    -meandmr.com


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  4. Love the inside of the coop. Very pretty. When we had birds I never thought of doing this. Our coops were nice and clean but not decorated.

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  5. Kathryn Scherer10/28/12, 11:32 PM

    Love your photos and your savvy thoughts on egg eating hen issues etc. I would like to recieve your latest posts. My  email = kathryn@arkansashills.com. PS: I have a five rooster set of banty brothers that would make some neat lawn confetti for a rural couple or individual with nice chicken digs. These boys are pleasant and spar but do not wound, have wonderful crowing harmony together, and are pleasant.

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  6. Great tips, and fabulous photos.  I'm sharing on my facebook page and featuring you on my blog hop tomorrow (thebackyardfarmingconnection.com).  Happy hug a chicken day!

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  7. TheChickenChick11/5/12, 11:31 AM

    Thanks Gretchen, how fun!! Happy Hug a Chicken Day to you too!!

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  8. We had a problem with egg eating in my free-range hens last season, I fixed it by making sure that the hens had access to plenty of shell grit and minerals, their eggs have really hard shells now and that seems to have fixed the problem.  We also had a lot of trouble with hatching eggs, and I think the two were related.  I read somewhere that the hens peck the eggs after laying them, and if the shells are too thin to be viable for hatching, the egg breaks and the hen eats it.  I also wondered if the hens had a mineral deficiency and if that was causing infertility.  I read all those forums where people say the only option is to cull the hens, and I'm glad I tried giving them minerals instead!

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  9. Carolina FoodStorage11/12/12, 9:53 PM

    Awesome article....this is one of the most frustrating things to encounter with chickens.  I had once though about installing a little camera to see who was doing it but I am not that savy or rich LOL!

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  10. TheChickenChick11/12/12, 10:48 PM

    It is really frustrating, I agree.

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  11. TheChickenChick11/12/12, 10:51 PM

    I'm glad you did too, Liz. Egg eating need not be a death sentence.

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  12. wow...thank you for all those options.....we had always tried to "beat the culprit to the eggs" plan....but I like the curtain idea too....I also always seem to have broody hens...no matter what the season !

    I will definitely start working on some of these...

     

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  13. Laureli Illoura11/13/12, 9:22 AM

    Egg-eating had a frustrating effect on my chicken-raising experience for a while - so learning from others online saved my flock from the butchers' block. For that reason I'd like to share a bit more on the topic than you have most graciously covered. 
    First, filling an egg with mustard didn't help things for me- as some coop keepers suggested, even cayenne pepper won't necessarily deter chickens because they don't have the heat-sensing taste buds that we do. Imagine a hen eating that much mustard without a problem!
    I think it's true for my flock, that they tested the eggshells and got hooked. The hens were given to me at 3 years of age and only a few of them were still laying (not daily); and one of those laid very soft-shell eggs. So you can imagine every egg counts in such a situation. 
    I was quickly desperate for a solution.
    After rechecking that they had the adequate feeds, and 2 indoor sources of water and 3 outside sources... I painted a few stripes down their backs with craft paint to keep them identified as this was an ongoing problem. The paint remains for up to 2 months.
    The problem got worse for a while as others began to pick up on the new fun activity.  Out of 8 hens I had 3 persistent/repeat offenders, (including once, the rooster!) You have to look carefully for the remains of egg sometimes, but I actually caught mine in the act. 
    First I sectioned off  the coop like a mini jail and when caught in the act immediately picked them up and told them "no, bad!" very sternly and put them into the jail area. They seemed to 'get it' immediately, for any eggs laid remained untouched..   
    I had up to 3 hens in jail at a time, up to 3 days at a time. No egg-eating occurred while in jail, although only one was a constant layer and one was a once-a-week layer.
    As soon as I received a batch of new hens, I didn't want to divide the coop so when it happened again (many new eggs being laid seemed to be a temptation), I set up a rabbit hutch outside to lock them up in during the day (punishment was no free ranging for them, but they got feed and water, straw, and a view). 
    When it recurs (sporadically), I simply collect the marked (painted) hens in the morning and separate them to the hutch. IT ONLY TAKES ONE DAY for them to stop and it kept them from teaching the new hens.

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  14. TheChickenChick11/13/12, 4:25 PM

    I'm with you, Jenny: broodies are relentless in my coops year-round!

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  15. TheChickenChick11/13/12, 4:27 PM

    Very interesting. Thanks for sharing that experience, Laureli!

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  16. right now we are dealing with our first run in with an egg eater.  two days in a row!  we got the flock this past summer. 2- 1 yr old silkies, 1 silkie/brahm, 1 brahm, and 3 spring RIR. they came from a free range farm and had no nesting boxes, so right now we have several who still lay on the floor. so it may be harder to figure out whom is eating! but tomorrow a.m. I am going to go observe for a while, quietly.

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  17. TheChickenChick12/8/12, 12:37 AM

    Let me know how the spying works! lol

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  18. joely pentlow12/31/12, 3:26 PM

    This is great, I am going to send it to a friend in the UK, she has egg eaters.  One of my previous hens would egg eat, I would come home from work and she would have dried yolk on her face, she was not great at covering her tracks!

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  19. Stephanie Pfahl4/25/13, 3:26 PM

    My three hens have become egg-eaters, but not of their own eggs. They eat my duck's eggs! I have a breeding pair of Pekins, and occasionally she gets a bit broody and wants to sit her eggs. Unfortunately, as soon as she's off the nest the chickens move in. I don't know how to stop this, as I am not opposed to having baby ducklings this spring!

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  20. I've found egg on the beak of one hen only once, but about a dozen eggs have been pecked open in 2 weeks. I've seen scrub jays peck eggs if I put them down in the garden even momentarily to pick some veggies. But how do I keep assertive birds out of my coop?

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  21. Thank you for this post! I just found your blog looking for info on egg eating. I am very new to the chicken keeping but have been doing good the last month and a half. I have 19 hens and a rooster. 5 of these are new to the flock this last week. I also had switched to pellet layer feed about 2 weeks ago because they were spilling it all on the ground...:( I've heard pellets increase risk of cannibalism.

    My heart sunk today when I came out to check on the girls and a few had a yellowish film on their beaks. It didn't quite click at that moment. I went to go check the nesting boxes for eggs and one girl was in there. Apparently, I disturbed her because she came out of the coop...and dropped an egg on the ground right next to a bunch of hens. I heard something hit the ground and then the entire flock engulfed the area and devoured the egg in seconds. Have you ever heard of such a thing!?

    My entire flock got a taste I'm pretty sure. I'm so bummed. I have 6 nesting boxes and have plenty of water out. The area is clean and is set up nicely for them. They have about .25 acres or more of roaming space that is in a small apple orchard...so they are getting accidental treats from the trees right now. I just hung up black curtains and the hubs is heading to the store to get golf balls.

    My chickens always act like they are starving when I come out to greet them...some are very pushy and try to grab what is in my hands. They have plenty of food (organic) and I have a separate thing for oyster shells. I've always heard kitchen scraps are fine for chickens but I've been reading that maybe thats not a good idea. Do you feed your girls any scraps?

    I'm really hoping these measures will help with this but I'm afraid the entire flock is done for:( Do you have any other advice for me?

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  22. I've put all the tips I know in this article Heather. Good luck with them.

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  23. Francis B.9/5/13, 4:46 PM

    All 12 of my 3 1/2 month-old chicks are obsessed with getting in the laying boxes and kicking out the wood chips. They started this in the brooder box and then went on to discover eggs from the older hens, after they joined in the hen house & pen. I caught them red-handed eating away this morning...what can I do?!!

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  24. Barbara Kolander9/18/13, 11:43 PM

    Keeping fresh straw, fresh water, adequate feed plus occasional grit w/ oyster shell, and marble eggs in nests has deterred mine from eating their eggs. ;)

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  25. barbara iversen9/28/13, 11:32 AM

    I raised 12 white rocks this last spring. They began laying but then started eating the eggs. I have done all the things you suggest but so far no luck breaking this. It appears it is all 12 of them. Very frustrated.

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  26. Homestead Lady9/30/13, 3:59 AM

    Thanks for the advice! We usually just eat ours for dinner but I'll try to be more attentive to their needs! We shared this at homesteadlady.com FB page.

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  27. TheChickenChick9/30/13, 9:54 PM

    Thank you for sharing!

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  28. I had a plastic egg in the nest box to show the girls where to lay and every day I would come out to find it outside the nest box. One of the girls must be very offended by it. Silly things.

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  29. Tracy Harden10/1/13, 5:02 PM

    Separate the ducks from the chickens when the duck is setting on eggs.

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  30. We got 4 French copper Marans this year and when they started to lay they were eating their eggs ! I blew some eggs and filled them with English mustard and within a week we had eggs in the nestbox and none eaten x

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  31. Denise Allison Magil10/2/13, 12:59 AM

    thanks

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  32. TheChickenChick10/2/13, 11:36 PM

    Right on! Gotta fight fire with...mustard I guess! lol

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  33. quarter acre lifestyle1/7/14, 11:58 PM

    Hi, thanks for the tips on stopping egg eaters. We have eleven well fed cooks laying nine eggs a day but over the last couple of weeks there have been fewer and fewer eggs, five days ago i caught two of them red handed.
    I had a sister, who lives in Brazil, visiting at the time she said over there they lightly burn the tips of their beaks with a naked flame and feed them soft food for a few days. We are very fond of our girls and are very reluctant to try this, if all else fails do you think it will do any permanent harm?
    Thanks, great blog by the way.

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  34. TheChickenChick1/10/14, 8:22 PM

    That is torture Wendy. That's like burning a person's fingertips off. Such a practice causes a permanent disability and permanent pain to chickens.

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  35. Great to know.. Thanks

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  36. naturegirls1/12/14, 1:16 PM

    I think good nutrition, a healthy cat and fresh water should be the first action - dont blame the chickens first - I think if they are content they wont eat eggs - culling just removes the symptom and not the root cause. Please know that I do not believe commercial feeds satisfy the hens - so do your homework. p.s.: love my broody banty girl! :)

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  37. Denise Allison Magil1/12/14, 5:31 PM

    more great info

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  38. Verity Lambert1/12/14, 6:39 PM

    GDay m8. Thank you for the info. I also appreciated the info on heat as we are heading into a heat wave. But I should have trusted my chickens survival skills. They made there way up 10 steps, across the balcony, In the dog and cat door, and set them selves up in front of the cooler on the computer chair. My two cats are a little peeved, the computer chair is there spot. All good, Cats have computer desk. Chooks have computer chair. Human and dog, have the floor. Im thankful my ducks can't get up the steps. Keep warm.

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  39. TheChickenChick1/16/14, 8:32 PM

    Try adding a few golf balls or wooden eggs to the nests and some nest box curtains.

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  40. Carve an egg, or half an egg, out of a light-colored bar of soap and put it in the nest. They will not peck at any more eggs. Works.

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  41. So happy you posted this today. I have just acquired my cousin's four chickens 5 days ago and realized today that they are all guilty of egg eating. I am beyond devastated, but am willing to attempt a rehabilitation. I am hopeful, yet painfully aware that this has most likely been going on for the past couple of months left unchecked. If I cannot rehab them, I will have no choice but to cull them to prevent the behavior from being taught to the rest of my flock :(

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  42. Chip Fleming3/5/14, 8:06 PM

    Hi, Kathy ,I also have a hen that tends to lay an occasional "soft egg" while roosting. She is a BCM that is almost a year old. Apparently one of the other hens is finding the egg and is helping herself! I have found the remnants of the egg in the am coop clean up . I also use sand in the coop( got that from a wise chickenista!) the problem is I am having a hard time finding out which one is doing the eggs eating. No signs of yolk on the beak. Why would this hen lay an egg while roosting? Thanks

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  43. TheChickenChick3/5/14, 8:37 PM

    If your cousin's chickens are already living with your existing flock, you could have much bigger problems than egg-eating. Please read this to learn how you could possibly lose your entire flock for lack of quarantine: http://www.the-chicken-chick.com/2012/12/quarantine-of-backyard-chickens-why-and.html

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  44. Birdie Barb3/5/14, 10:22 PM

    Thanks for the 411. I think you found yellow snow on Rachel's beak not egg yoke. That little girl with her innocent face could never do any thing like that!

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  45. I love having a flock of girls own me. But was SO upset when I realized that there was an egg-eater! I did some research and totally fixed the problem within a week. I blew out an egg and used, not mustard, but Tobasco sauce, sealing it with Velveeta cheese, which I know chickens like. (Don't ask me HOW I know...) I had to repeat this only once. Problem solved!

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  46. TheChickenChick3/6/14, 1:27 AM

    Velveeta?! Genius!

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  47. I can't believe someone would even think about burning a hen's beak. I am stunned!

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  48. Julie Walter DeMoss3/6/14, 7:52 AM

    great article

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  49. Wow this is great news now I no longer have to cull an egg eater I am glad to hear they can be rehabilitated I love the internet because it allows us to have access to awesome blogs like The Chicken Chick!

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  50. TheChickenChick3/6/14, 10:49 PM

    If it's only occasionally, I wouldn't worry about it if they are being fed properly.

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  51. TheChickenChick3/6/14, 10:56 PM

    LOL! Nice try. ;)

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  52. Just wondering if some breeds are more prone then others ? Seems my Marans are often times the offender.

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  53. TheChickenChick3/7/14, 9:07 PM

    I do not believe it's breed specific at all.

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  54. Good info. Something it's eating my chicken eggs. Figured it was one of the hens, maybe so. 2eggs in the nest today, one was pecked one wasn't. Took the good one out and laid it on top of the best box outside. Forgot about it till later, went back and it to was pecked. My chickens have never flew up here. There are a couple pigeon s hanging around, could they be the culprits , I've seen them in the chicken house before?

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  55. TheChickenChick3/16/14, 12:23 AM

    Are you sure it's not the hens?

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  56. I'm not sure it's one of the hens. Thought so till I found the egg up high outside partially eaten. Could be something else, put hard plastic eggs in the nest, hope that helps, but was wondering about the pigeons .

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  57. Just putting up the curtains and straw in the nesting boxes my ladies STOPPED eating the eggs and my three random yard area layers are laying in the boxes as well!!! Thank you so much I adore your information as well as your sweet disposition! Best help in the WORLD! ♥

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  58. TheChickenChick4/10/14, 3:41 PM

    That's fantastic, Sarah! Thanks for following, I appreciate it. :)

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  59. Ann Marie Wallace4/29/14, 11:06 AM

    Just hung nest box curtains, going to get some oyster shell this afternoon. Already have decoy eggs. I work until the afternoon and can't collect the eggs until then. I hope adding oyster shell to their diet will help. Don't know what else to do.

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  60. Had some barred rocks that did this for a couple of weeks when they first started laying.. after awhile they got the hang of the process it rarely occurred after that

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  61. I have some hens who find golf ball offensive... probably ought to get wooden eggs....

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  62. How about culling a whole flock? SErious, this is awful, they are eating them as they're laid. I can't possibly stay out there and watch them. So, Curtains will work? I so hope so! I think there are several out there doing it now.

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  63. I would try everything suggested in my article before I would consider getting rid of any one of my chickens.

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  64. I have a few hens that won't lay in the nesting boxes .i don't have any broody hens. They lay them on the ground and it becomes a snack for all of them . This hens used to lay on the boxes and now they don't .... Not sure what to do . The eggs that get layed in the boxes never get touched !!!

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  65. Judith Berguson5/20/14, 9:47 AM

    I am using good food, fresh water (with vitamins) I have not given treats lately, I do have music playing, I will have to try curtains...I have found 3 eating the eggs, or one starting it and the others following, i am not sure...I am not willing to get rid of them. Thanks for the tips...

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  66. It's most likely not pigeons. My Dad has raised pigeons and chickens, in the same coop. The pigeons were never the cause of broken or pecked eggs.

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  67. Darcy Farrens5/25/14, 5:42 PM

    Great information Kathy! I love reading your blogs. I am learning ago much from them. Thank you for the wonderful reads!

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  68. Sarah Pearce5/25/14, 5:43 PM

    Get non-hungry breeds...non production breeds. They are not as interested in eggs because they are not bred to produce as much. In order to produce they have to eat, right?

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  69. I know we have at least two egg eaters. My dad says to cull them but there's no way that I can do that. Chicken Chick suggestions to ensue this week

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  70. The Knotted Knitter5/30/14, 7:43 PM

    I found this page and bookmarked it 3 days ago. One of my hens apparently wandered up on the back deck and laid her egg there. When I got home, I found a bit of shell & it was too dark to take any action. I researched your site and was ready the next morning.
    I got up the next day and quickly determined who the culprit was (boy, did she have egg on her face ... and beak ... and...). Top it off, she had already eaten another egg that morning. Dang! I started with the mustard in the eggshell technique. Later in the day, I found mustard mess in the nest box and they had dragged off the egg shell. Hmm, that's a hint for me. I also moved the container with the oyster shell in a more obvious spot and found two lovely agate rocks in our pasture (peck on THAT, Ethel!).
    Today, I got 3 lovely eggs from my 3 sweet hens and the problem seems to be over as quickly as it started! Wow! Am I glad of that!!

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  71. What an unpleasant surprise to put your hand in the nest box to gather eggs and touch cold snotty egg white goo! Just started discovering this among my other eggs left in tact. No shell left at all just the gelatinous left over. Will keep watch closely & try your ideas.

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  72. Isabella Eisenbeil6/15/14, 10:29 AM

    I love this article and I love your site. Thank you for sharing your knowledge!

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  73. One of my chickens started eating eggs after I cleaned out their nesting area. I put oyster shell out for them, put golf balls in the nest, and filled blown eggs with mustard. My little Rhode Island Red is not eating eggs any more! I think it was the mustard! :) Thank you!

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  74. The Lancaster Farming had a article recently, about chickens that eat eggs. A remedy was give to add 1 c of Apple Cider Vinegar to 1 gal of water, for their water. We have been trying it for 1 1/2 weeks. The only time they seem to eat them, is if there was not enough vinegar in the water.. We are happy to be getting the eggs instead of them!

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  75. ProudChoctawSquaw7/18/14, 1:04 PM

    I have a hen eating an egg or two every day but I am having trouble trying to determine the culprit I added oyster shell but will try the vinegar hopefully it will help. Their nest boxes are dark so no need for curtains. Thanks for the article.

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  76. ATET submission: Melinda looked long and hard with her beady left eye at Doc Brown's beady right eye, she had to tell someone the secret she has kept in her little head for oh so long. She had a dark shell over her head each time she thought about why she decided not to enter the chicken convent. She finally started to bawk to Doc Brown and spilled her crop that when she was a pullet laying in the nesting box hoping for the day to come to lay her first egg it happened, she layed her egg! She was overjoyed and began to sing the egg song to the rest of the flock, she could not contain her eggcitment and started to sing a a theatrical manner and accidentally broke her first egg. She was devastated and didn't want any of the other hens, most certainly not Liza Stolen to know, nor did she want the lady with the short hair to think she was a clumsy egg layer. All her bird brain could think of was to hide the evidence. Doc Brown egged Melinda on to continue with her story. Melinda stated she ate the egg. This is what has caused her to never feel good enough to enter the convent. Tammie-Lee

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  77. ATET submission. She had an illicit affair with the rooster from up the road. She laid an egg from which he was the father. It was her first. In a panic, she pushed it to another nesting box and a future HIB was born. Robin B.

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  78. We just discovered one of these:(. They only just started laying too:(. Thank you for the fantastic ideas!

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  79. patachickenmom9/3/14, 9:53 AM

    My chickens are about 4 months old. Yesterday when I went out to lock them up for the night I found one hen right outside the coop door looking like she was blown up or very constipated then out came an egg that burst when it hit the ground another scooped up the deflated shell an ate it. They have 4 nesting boxes that they have used with privacy curtain , plenty of fresh water, oyster shell, layer feed. What is happening??? Is it that they are just youngster?

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  80. Brenda Jones9/5/14, 10:43 AM

    good to know info thanks!!

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  81. It's like you read my mind! Thanks Kathy:-)

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  82. Excellent article. We actually caught one of our hens in the act of breaking an egg and eating a dab of hte contents. She was immediately removed from the yard and put in a coop, by herself. For the next few days we watched her and removed her own eggs as soon as they were laid. After a few days, we put her in with our ducks, for a month, again removing her eggs as soon as they were laid. After a month, we returned her to the main hen yard. She has not done a repeat performance, since.

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  83. Mustard!? haha That would really do the trick!

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  84. Amy Longenecker9/13/14, 7:33 PM

    Help! I've tried everything to get my hens from eating their eggs. While trying, they've all picked up the habit. I've tried eggs filled with mustard and dish soap (a suggestion I saw on another site) and they ate them up like it was the best treat ever; stopped giving other treats; put in false eggs; moved the chicken we thought was eating (turns out all of them are); still giving oyster shells; put a dark cover over the nester and tried two different roll-away nesters. They do not like the new nesters and lay in the crevices around the nester. I check to gather the eggs many times throughout the day, sometimes I can snatch an egg but mostly I'm too late. They seem to sense my hovering and are now laying at random times rather than in the morning. Can this be fixed? They are free range and get layer feed with a bit of scratch.

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  85. I wish I knew what else to suggest, Amy. :(

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  86. We introduced 8 Black Copper Maran hens and 1 rooster about a month ago - they were laying. We noticed that they were trying to eat the eggs so we got better about going up and checking for eggs very often. Then it seemed like all the chickens stopped laying very steadily - except for two or three faithful chickens. Most have started again, but we just aren't getting any Maran eggs anymore! It's been a couple of weeks and we've only gotten on average less than one a day! I just wonder if they aren't laying them outside somewhere (they are all in a 100x100 fenced area) and then eating them?? We check all over the place for eggs but don't find any. Is it possible for chickens to clean up a mess like that without us knowing there were eggs to begin with??

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  87. It sounds cold and mean, but, I recently had this problem, except my beautiful heritage jersey giant rooster and his favorite out of 4 chickens were eating every spec of every egg, I am very proud of his looks and I can't kill any chickens,but, you need to seperate and either eat them or let them free range, once they start they do not stop and they will teach the other chickens just from seeing it. QUICK SEPERATE AND REMOVE!

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